Top 10 4Runner Off-Road Mods
Best 4Runner Off-Road Mods/Accessories and Upgrades
Top 10 Off-Road Mods/ Accessories & Upgrades for your 4Runner
“What Accessories/Upgrades should I purchase for my 4Runner?”
Many of us ask this question when starting out in the 4×4 world and the rest of us ask this when becoming the owner of our first 4Runner. In this guide on 4Runner Off-Road Mods and Accessories, we will be going over the top 10 must have Off-Road Accessories for your 5th Gen 4Runner.
On a side note, always remember whatever you buy when it comes to offroading and trailing, always buy quality parts even if they are slightly higher-priced. Skimming on Off-Road Mods and Accessories is never a good idea.
Cheap and good are never something you want to hear when purchasing Off-Road Mods and Accessories. Think of your 4Runner as your lifeline. If you buy a cheap lift kit and it gives out due to stress or other variables you could injure yourself or you could injure others around you.
When buying 5th Gen 4Runner Accessories, you should always balance cost with expectations. If you cannot afford the most expensive Mod or Accessory and you are looking at the lower end of cost, you should probably bump up to a middle of the road product. This is your 4Runner we are talking about. If you spent 30k-40k on a 4Runner, you want to drop amazing products on it, not shoddy ones.
We hope you enjoy this overview on Off-Road Mods and Accessories for the 5th Gen 4Runner or any 4Runner for that matter. With this page, hopefully, you will be one step closer to building your dream 4Runner.
Top 10 4Runner Off-Road Mods and Accessories List
- Mod #1 – Suspension/Body lift kit
- Mod #2 – Tires
- Mod #3 – Winch
- Mod #4 – Skid Plate
- Mod #5 – CB Radio/ Communication
- Mod #6 – Front/ Rear Bumpers
- Mod #7 – 5th Gen 4Runner Rock Sliders
- Mod #8 – Light Bars/ Pod Lights
- Mod #9 – Jerry Cans/ Accessories
- Mod #10 – Roof Rack
Mod #1 – Suspension/ Level Kit/ Body Lift Kit
One of the most common upgrades and one of the best Off-Road Mods and Accessories to do is a lift kit. A Suspension lift kit will allow you to have a higher clearance level on your 4runner. You will be able to go in deeper areas and above areas you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. There is a big difference between running stock suspension vs. aftermarket suspension on your 4Runner.
You will also be able to clear tires you weren’t previously able to. For the 5th Gen 4Runner, you are likely running 31″ tires. With a 3″ Suspension Lift, you can now run 33″ tires without any additional mods. You can 34″ tires with quite a few of adjustments.
Running 34″ Tires? To run 34″ tires, you need to chop your body mounts (BMC – Body Mount Chop), trim your 4Runners body (front well), trim the black valance caps (rear well), trim splash guards (rear well), and push plastic guards back up into your grill (front well).
- 4Runner Leveling Kit: Leveling kits are great for folks looking for a more affordable option to raising their 4Runner frame. You should look at this 3″ 4Runner Leveling Kit and this 2.5″ 4Runner Leveling Kit for better ideas on what this looks like.
- 4Runner Suspension Lift: A suspension lift will help by raising your frame off of the ground which is great for rock climbing and trailing areas with a lot of debris. A suspension lift is the most common among 5th Gen 4Runner lifts. Check out the Icon Suspension Install for more information.
- 4Runner Body Lift: A body lift is great for someone who does mild trailing but wants to clear a larger tire without lifting the frame. You can also run a suspension lift with a body lift for an even taller look.
- 4Runner Lift Kit: This is when you are looking at going more than 3.5″ of lift on your 4Runner. More than 3.5″ can be done with a suspension lift and a body lift, but if you are going over 3.5″, you should look into full lift kits. This requires a bit more work than just throwing in new shocks.
Mod #2 – Tires
In our 5th Gen 4Runner Mods (Part 1), we touched on tires. Tires are another great upgrade for your 4Runner. While you can go many places using stock 31″ tires, a nice set of thick tread pattern all-terrain tires will give you much more grip on a wider variety of terrain. All-terrain tires will also allow you to dig into mud, sand, and gravel much better.
This is necessary when Off-Road because, without all-terrain tires, your 4Runner won’t grip the terrain. With thicker sidewalls and deeper lug pattern tires, you will dig your way out of terrain by digging into the terrain.
If you have already installed or are going to install a suspension lift, you will want to size up your tire in most cases due to the stock tire no longer looking correct. Tires come in any many price points and an affordable brand for a budget builder is the Mud Claw Extreme tires they are good quality and you can pick up a set for around $500.
For a more advanced, more expensive tire, you should look at the Toyo Open Country AT 2, BFG KO2s, and the Cooper ST Maxx Discoverer. Also, below is a general idea on pricing out tires for your 5th Gen 4Runner.
All Terrain Tire Options for 5th Gen 4Runner
- Mud Claw Extreme M/T: $120 – Top Budget Choice
- Yokohama Geolandar A/T: $120 (Light tread depth)
- Firestone Destination A/T: $120-$150
- General Grabber A/T: $120-$170
- Nitto Terra Grapplers A/T: $150 – Top Middle Choice
- Toyo Open Country A/T: $150
- Cooper Discoverer A/T: 150 (Bad Ass)
- BF Goodrich KO2 A/T: $250-$350
- Toyo Open Country A/T 2: $260
- Toyo Open Country M/T 2: $260
- Nitto Trail Grapplers A/T: $300
- Goodyear Duratrac A/T: $400+
- Cooper Discoverer STT Pro Off Road Tire A/T: $400+ – Top Baller Choice
- Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac A/T: $400+
Mod #3 – A Winch
Everyone Should Have a Winch
A winch is a priority for any Off-Roading rig even if you do not own a 4Runner. You may not always have someone there to pull you out of the hole you got stuck in. This goes for a random off-road ditch or even small rivers or creeks. Whether you have a stand-alone winch, a winch in your bumper or an Undercover Hidden Winch Mount, these are a key accessory.
With a nice winch, you can pull yourself out of almost anything. A winch with a remote is your best friend. When trailing solo if you’re stuck, you can use the remote control to keep the cable tight as you drive your way out.
So, a winch is a must-have trail accessory if you can afford one. But, make sure when you purchase one, buy name brand quality because you’ll be counting on it.
Buy a Name-Brand Winch – Don’t Go Cheap!
For winches, if you’re wanting a great winch, the two top brands we would recommend are Smittybilt, Warn and Badlands. Badland is a great winch for budget builders do to the fact that they combine dependability and affordability.
We just bought a C4 Fab Bumper with a Smittybilt x20-10 Comp Gen2 which is a waterproof winch that has a synthetic rope and aluminum fairlead. This winch supports 10,000 lbs.
Warn Winches and Smittybilt, on the other hand, are a bit more expensive but will last the test of time. These companies have been around for many years and are highly depended on in the Off-Road community.
Even if you are a Fire-Road enthusiast, it is always nice to have something dependable, just in case.
Top Options for an Off-Road Winch
- Harbor Freight Badland 9000 (9,000-lb)
- Kodiak Bruin (9,500-lb)
- Summit Racing SUM-930002 (9,000-lb)
- Superwinch EP9.0 (9,500-lb)
- T-Max EWI9500 (9,500-lb)
- Warn 9.5xp (9,500-lb)
Mod #4 – Skid Plates
General 4Runner Protection with a Skid Plate
Skid plates are a must-have for anyone who wants to do mild/heavy trailing. Whether you grab a 4Runner TRD skid plate or a more advanced aftermarket skid plate, they are an important piece to the 4Runner Off-Road Accessories list.
Think of them as a bulletproof vest for your 4Runner. Skid plates protect your undercarriage. If your doing small light-weight Fire-Roads, the stock skid plate has got you covered. But, for the adventurous folks who do rock climbing and more advanced terrain, that’s when you want an aftermarket skid plate.
You don’t want a rock, stump or metal to tear up your undercarriage if you’re doing creek/river crossings. Skid plates are great for situations like this and many others. When you can’t see exactly what is under your rig and you have to push through anyway, a skid plate can really save you headaches in the future.
Pushing Your Limits without a Skid Plate?
A common occurrence is having a rock pierce the gas tank skid plate destroying your gas tank which other than being an expensive fix could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Skid plates are also something you can make at home fairly easy if you know how to fabricate.
The perk of making homemade skid plates is that you can decide on the thickness of the metal, along with where it is braced and what it covers. I have seen homemade skid plates that cover the full undercarriage.
The downside to skids like that, whether you purchase them or make them yourself is that full skid plates must be removed and washed so you don’t have mud rotting your frame or salt rotting it in the winter. But a nice set of aftermarket skid plates is a must have for anyone doing mild to heavy trails.
Top Brands for 5th Gen 4Runner Front Skid Plates & Full Skids
- Toyota TRD Pro Skid Plate
- RCI Metal Works Skid Plates
- ARB Skid Plates
- Shrockworks Skid Plates
- Procomp Full Skid Plate
- Smittybilt Skid Plate
- C4 Fabrication Full Skids
- Budbuilt Skid Plates
- CBI Off-Road Skid Plates
Mod #5 – CB Radio or General Communication
A CB Radio is another must-have for everyone even if you’re doing small trails and Fire-Roads. You may not always have cell service so a CB radio is your backup way of communication in case you become stranded, injured, or you have gotten yourself lost.
A CB radio is something you can get for Around $100 and it will be quality. Many manufacturers do sell high-end CB radio’s but for most cases, a cheaper one will do the trick. If you are doing desert trails or state park trails invest in a wide range CB radio just to play it safe.
Also, if you head out with a crew of people, you MUST-HAVE a set of walkies. Not only do walkies make you feel like a kid again, they help you navigate with the crew more efficiently. There are hundreds of two-way radios that you can grab on Amazon or anywhere for fairly cheap.
Our top pick for a walkie on the trail is the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio. You really need to grab two of radios and two antennas. That way, when you go out and someone doesn’t have them, you have them covered. This happens all the time.
What Are those Two-Way Radios Again?
- 2 X Off-Road Two-Way Radios – Check Today’s Price
- 2 X Matching Extended Range Antennas – Check Today’s Price
You can get the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio with a short antenna or a long range antenna. We would recommend the long-range Nagoya NA-771 15.6-Inch Whip VHF/UHF (144/430Mhz) Antenna for BTECH and BaoFeng Radios.
Also, this is the most common walkie that everyone has. So, if you go out and meet up with people, more than likely they will have a set of BaoFengs you can sync up with. If not, hopefully, you have a set and have them covered for communication on the ride.
Mod #6 – Steel Plate/ Tube bumper’s
5th Gen 4Runner Shot Cred: @GeneralOverland
While steel bumpers are not a necessity for offroading, we would rank them in the top 10 Off-Road Mods and Accessories because we have seen many pictures of friends stock bumpers completely mangled on trails. The first scratches you will start to see on your 4Runner are on your rear bumper quarter panels. After these start to add up, you will want a bumper.
A set of front and rear steel or aluminum bumpers for your 5th Gen 4Runner will be pricey unless you purchase the cheaper tube bumpers or a D.I.Y bumper kit. But even at the cost of the lower-end products, we personally would still recommend them to protect your radiator and other lines at the front of your engine bay when trailing.
There are a handful of fabricators and manufactures for front and rear bumpers. Again, going back to the topic of quality, you should only buy a quality product when looking at the front and rear bumpers. This might be a little more expensive but well worth it in the end for sure. The list below came from a post we wrote on 5th Gen 4Runner Grills and Bumpers.
Top Companies that Manufacture Bumpers
- C4 Fab
- 4×4 Labs
- Pathfinder Outdoors Rockteck Bumper
- Southern Style Off-Road (SSO) Previously SSS
- Hefty Fabworks
- Pelfrey Bilt
- Addicted Off Road
Mod #7 – Sliders / Nerf Bars
Other Pages by Raul
Sliders and Nerf Bars, while not needed as well, are another Item we would rank in the top 10 Off-Road Mods and Accessories. A nice set of Sliders or Nerf bars will protect your rocker panels from being dented or gouged beyond repair.
Sliders and Nerf bars also allow you to get into your rig a lot easier if you are shorter or have a suspension and body lift combination.
The 4Runner NFab Nerf Bars are amongst the most common Nerf Bars installed on the 4Runner and the C4 Fab Rock Sliders have to be the most installed sliders on our 5th Gen 4Runner.
Nerf Bars are far less expensive than rock sliders. Nerf Bars come in at around $350 while premium rock sliders come in at $900-$1200+. Whatever you decide, getting rid of your stock running boards is a must.
Mod #8 – Light Bars/ Pod Lights
Some of Jeff’s Pages:
When it comes to light bars or light pods, lights are something we personally think all 4x4s that do any type of trails should have. At the very least, you should run both pods and a light bar on your rig.
You never know when you will need your light bars or light pods. If you go out on a trail and get stuck while nights approaching, lights come in handy. For example; if you get stuck and you can only use your winch to pull yourself out, your headlights/taillights just won’t cut it. They may help you see a little bit but compared to having pods or an LED light bar they are pretty useless.
Light bars are something you can buy fairly cheap now of days so they are worth it. But, for lights, you should only be buying products that are made in America or extremely high quality. Quality electrical is key in aftermarket parts on your 4Runner. No one wants electrical problems on the trail. The problem we have is finding a slim, sleek look with your LED light bars or light pods.
And, this is where roof racks come in so handy. If you have a well-built roof rack, you can mount lights almost anywhere.
Mod #9 – Jerry Cans & Miscellaneous Accessories
Jerry cans (metal gas cans) are something you should have at least one of if you go off-road. Fuel solutions really only come in handy if you are planning a lengthy trip, but it never hurts to be prepared.
Would you rather have extra fuel on the trail or get stuck in the middle of nowhere?
When using your 4wd system you burn up more gas then you typically would on-road. The same goes for pressing the gas pedal more in order to push through ruts, steep inclines, and rough terrain. Additional fuel storage like Jerry Cans and RotoPAX cans will ensure that you have enough gas to make it out of your trail system.
Fuel storage solutions vary in prices. You can grab fuel storage for $20 a tank all the way to $100 per tank. It just depend’s on the brand. Personally, we recommend finding military Jerry Cans because they’re typically higher quality and cheaper. You can find lots of these things on Craigslist for super cheap.
Just be patient with these, you can find some pretty cool stuff on Craigslist. You don’t have to buy brand new everything to hit the trails. Check out our other post on 4Runner Accessories and Gear that you should be carrying with you when you go out.
Miscellaneous Off-Road Accessories (Camping Accessories will Overlap)
- MOLLE Panel for 4Runner Gear (Rago Fab / Orange Boxx)
- Fuel Storage (Jerry Cans/ RotoPAX)
- Shovel/ Axe/ Hammer
- Jumper Cables
- First-Aid Kit
- Bic Lighters/ Matches
- Fire Extinguisher
- Tow Straps/ Recovery Straps
- General Tools (Metric for 4Runners)
- Small Pocket Knife/ Large Travel Knife/ Utility Knife (razor)
- Flashlights (Small, Lage and Medium – Light is KEY)
- Toilet Paper/ Paper Towels (Also KEY)
- Air Deflator/ Air Inflator
- Hi-Lift® Jack – Or an Off-Road Jack W/ Stand
- Off-Road Recovery Tracks
Mod #10 – Roof Rack
Last but not least, and certainly not the least important, 4Runner Roof Racks. 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Racks come in many different shapes and sizes. You can get full-length roof racks, 3/4 length roof racks, basket roof racks, factory mount system roof racks and many others.
Roof Racks are one of the most popular Off-Road Mods and Accessories for 4Runners because they serve much more than an “Off-Road” purpose. Roof Racks will be incredibly helpful in many situations of your 4Runner life.
Roof Racks allow for increased storage, the infamous RTT (Roof Top Tent), advanced lighting set-ups, and general storing capacity. With 4Runner Roof Racks, you can decrease the clutter in your cabin and throw the big bulky items up top.
- Full-Length Roof Racks: These racks are probably the most installed racks in the 5th Gen 4Runner world. You can fit the most gear on a full-length rack and there are a ton of options. Sleep on them, stand on them, post up a beach chair and watch the stars if you want. With a full-length rack, the options are endless.
- 3/4 Length Racks: These racks for the soul who needs a rack, but typically has no RTT (Roof Top Tent) ambitions. With a 3/4 Roof Rack, you can achieve much of the same with a full but you lose about 2.5 of storage ability. You can mount an RTT to a 3/4 but your options are a little slimmer.
- Basket Racks: Basket racks are typically super affordable and give you the option to throw a ton of stuff up top. Baskets usually mount to factory rails so little no modification is needed.
- Factory Mount Racks: This racks can be anything from 3/4 racks to basket racks, flat racks, and much more. Factory mount racks use your 4Runners roof rails to mount. These are a great option for people not looking to spend an arm and leg and still have rooftop storage.
What Off-Road 4Runner Mods and Accessories should you start with?
There are 100’s of other upgrades you can do to your 4Runner but these are our top 10 Off-Road Mods and Accessories/Upgrades you should purchase for your 5th gen 4Runner or any 4Runner for the most part.
Again, be sure to always buy quality parts when it comes to Off-Road Mods and Accessories of any type. I hope this Top 10 guide helps you when building your rig. Always remember to stay safe and always have fun out on the trail!